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Weekly Update 1…

As the title suggests, I will update my activities weekly, rather than trying to keep up with daily updates, plus I am sure daily updates can get very boring. I will of course do other posting not related to my physical activity as they come up.

Since my last update, I have continued to ride but still not to a level that I had planned by this point. The one thing so far this bike season that I have not experienced in past years, is the constant strong winds we have had on a daily basis. In the end, I know this will only make me stronger on the bike. I have taken to doing some sprints on my rides, I usually sprint for 1K. Reviewing the Garmin data once I was finished, I was happy to see a few sprints in the 40km/h and the majority in the high 30s.

Since my last post, I did add another “gadget” to Bonnie. Last year, I purchased a used set of Profile Design T2+ aerobars. It did take me some time getting use to the aerobars but towards the end of last season I was comfortable in the aero position. The one thing I did find with the T2 was the flat position of the bars caused my hands to go numb.

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In the off-season, I did some research on the various aerobars to see if I could find a set that I would feel more comfortable with and that would alleviate the numbness. In the end, I purchased a set of Profile Design T3+ Carbon based on several reviews.

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So far, I am very happy with the purchase. I love how my hands feel in the up turned bar position. Over the next little while, I will play with the adjustment of the bars to see if I can tune in my aero position better.

Last weekend was a big weekend for the Ottawa running community, as it was the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. There were almost 50,000 runners competing in races from 5k right up to the marathon. This race is a Boston qualifier so there are runners from all over the world in Ottawa competing. As part of Race Weekend, there is a huge fitness expo with everything a runner might need to compete. I decided not to take part this year but I thought I should at least take in the expo. This would be my first time going into such a crowded place on my own since getting diagnosed with PTSD. Well, I did make it through though it did take a lot out of me. Still, I made the effort and to think that just over a year ago, I would have not even considered going into that big of a crowd on my own.

Though I was disappointed not to be racing this year, I did have several friends running in various races. My running buddy and good friend Jenn was running in her very first marathon. I so wished I could have run with her, but it was not meant to be. As I sat at my nephew football practise, I kept looking at the time on my iPhone and talking to myself, saying, at this time, Jenn should be at this point on the course. I was so happy when I got home and checked her bib number on Sport Stats to see Jenn had completed he first marathon. It was bitter-sweet but I was super proud of Jenn crossing that finish line.

On Tuesday morning, I noticed that one of my friends posted a running challenge that she was taking part in with Runners World Magazine. The challenge is to run every day from Memorial Day to July 1, a total of 41 days of running. I have not run much at all since last December so this was a great chance to get my legs moving again while being held accountable to my running friends. Knowing that I had not run since December, I was not going to run for a time but a distance to start off with and once I got my runners legs back, then I would start pushing for time.

There are a couple of more motivators to run and keep running. The first being that I have signed up to run the Army half marathon at the end of September. The proceeds of this race goes to help the Canadian Soldiers and their families. It is also an emotional race as there are a lot of wounded soldier either running or racing in their wheel chairs. This year, I will wear a special shirt that I will have made up for the race. The second reason for keeping up with the running is that it will help me lose the weight I have put on in the last year. I worked so hard to lose that 100lbs, I cannot go back to that weight again. I went from a 46″ waist down to a 34″ waist, though my pants were a little snug. Now, I am finding that my 36″ waist pants are a little more than snug. My short-term goal is to fit back into my 36″ waist pants so they are very comfortable to wear.

Over all, I am feeling very good and that things are coming together nicely. I so look forward to the next 5-6 weeks of training and then going back to school for six weeks. Things are changing, but all the changes at this point are very good.

Here is a sample of my workouts this past week:

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Until next time, “Pick a gear and disappear”

Day 2 Out and About……

The day did not start out to great as Clyde, the TREK DS 8.3, that I planned to take out for a long ride on the Osgoode and Leitrim pathway was not ready to go as I thought. As you will recall from an earlier post, I had to take in the rear tire on Clyde to get a spoke replaced. I brought the tire home and it had been sitting in the garage until I was ready to go for a ride. As I was mounting the tire, I noticed that something was not right as I put the chain on. Low and behold, they forgot to tighten the cassette.

With Bonnie not really being ready to go, I decided that it would be best to take the tire in to get the cassette tighten. I could have done it myself with make shift tools but thought it best to let the professionals do the job right. The bike store, well it is really an outdoors store that is big into bikes, was packed it being Saturday and all. The bike tech said the tire would be ready in an hour as they had several bikes in the racks. I did not really mind as it let me walk around the store to lust after a number of bikes I would love to have. There was also a few factory reps at the store so I took the opportunity to talk with them about the different products that are currently available and what was coming on the market soon.

With the tire already to go, it was back to the house to get the tire mounted and head out for a ride. By the time I got home, the temperature was already in the mid 20’s so rather than head out on the bike right away, I decided that it would be better to take Bogie out for a walk before it got too hot.

bogie

We had a nice long walk, stopping to say hello to as many dogs and owners as we could. I would normally avoid doing this as I am not great with introducing myself nor making small talk. Bogie had a great time and I think this was the longest walk he has been on in a very long time.

bogiewalk

By the time we got home, the temperature was hitting a whooping 31c. Poor Bogie was beat when we got home, which for an Airedale is a very good thing as they can be a bundle of energy. I spent a little time cooling off and having something to eat myself. Plan was to head out on the bike a little later. Well by the time I was ready to go, a severe thunder-storm warning had been issued which included high winds, heavy rain and high likelihood of hail. Having been caught in a storm like that last year, I did not want to take the chance of getting caught in one again.

Renee was spending the weekend with the Girl Guides camping so my Mum invited me over for dinner. We all know, there is no cooking like my mom’s cooking so I had to go over to the parents place for dinner. My sister was there with her two boys, my aunt and my brother were there as well so it was a big crowd for dinner. I know one time last year I went over for such a dinner I had to leave due to my anxiety. This year it was not so bad.

So, that was day two of being out and about. Though not as productive as I had hoped, it was still a good day with me being out of my own home for three and a half hours.

Looks like the decision not ride was a good one. A few areas around Ottawa got hit pretty bad with micro bursts and violent thunder storms.

Another Week Done

So last week my goals were to complete at least two bike rides of 50K or more. I ended up doing three rides, 51.12, 50.09 and 53.13 averaging about 24KM/h. Two of the rides were on the Rideau Channal pathway system and there were a lot of people on the path so I kept my speed low, the other ride was on the Osgoode Line Path which is still pretty soft in place with water still in some sections. I am more than happy with the speed given that I was on my Trek DS 8.3 versus my road bike. I will admit that there were a couple of times that I was nervous but with each ride, I get more comfortable.

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I planned to get in three runs of 5K, but I ended up with only two. One of the days I was supposed to run did not happen as I was having a very bad, well a couple of bad days actually. Given what I am going through, there are still bad days but it seems and feels like the good days are out numbering the bad days. Again, I used the Osgoode Line Path system to do my runs as the ground is soft so running on it is easier on my knee. My time was ok at 36 minutes for one run and 34:24 for the other run. I am also breaking in a new pair of shoes, which I hope to have a review on shortly.

As for swimming, well that did not happen due one of the bad days. I will get in the pool this week but I am not going to put as much pressure on myself to do it as I did the last week. The big win for last week was that I did not visit Timmie (Tim Hortons Donuts) at all last week and I was able to eat much better. I have not weighed myself but my clothes are feeling better and I drop two belt notches so I am on the right track.

The goals for the coming week will be a repeat of last week as I know they are doable and I will not feel as much pressure. I am moving forward slowly but surely.

Until next time…When adversity strikes, that’s when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on. LL Cool J

The Week That Was

Last week I posted what my goals were going to be for the coming week:

1. At least one bike ride of one hour or more

2. Get at least 2 runs in of 5k

3. Stop going to Timmies to avoid the temptation of carbs

And the results were

1. I did an out and back ride on my bike to the Running Room for a total of 32K and about 1.5 hours of riding. At first, I was a bit nervous as this was my first ride since my crash and that the bike I was riding was very similar to the one I crashed on. It took a good 20 minutes or so to feel comfortable, especially riding in traffic. By the time I reached the Running Room, I was feeling more at ease and confident on the bike.

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The ride back home was a easer but boy oh boy was it damn cold. It is hard to believe it is May and the temperatures have remain in the single digits.

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2. Well I got in only one 5K run, but I will blame the weather for not being able to get out to do the second run. At the moment I am a fair weather runner, but has to change or I will not be able to achieve the results I want for my big race in August.

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3. I did manage to curb my carb craving this past week and only went to Timmies once and that was due to running late one morning and not having anything to eat at home. I skipped the chocolate chip muffin, Timbits or cookies for a bran muffin. Still not the best choice but it was better than what I was eating before.

So this week my goals are as follows:

1. Get in at least two 50K rides on the bike. Not at any land speed record time but just to start the legs and but used to longer distances.

2. Three 5K runs in any weather.

3. Now that my shoulder and neck are better, to swim laps at a pool for 45 minutes at least once this week.

Last week, I pushed beyond my comfort zone and did a goal setting talk at the Running Room. Though my anxiety did start to build towards the end of the talk, I was able to hold it together. I am still having good days and bad days but I think the good days are out numbering the bad one, at least in the depression area. The anxiety is still giving me trouble but I will continue to work on that until I can get it under control. I am hoping the more I put myself in situations that induces the anxiety at the present time, I can build up a tolerance to the anxiety.

Here is to the week ahead of getting stronger and healthier.

Until next time…..I’ve worked too hard and too long to let anything stand in the way of my goals. I will not let my teammates down and I will not let myself down. Mia Hamm

So What’s Next

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Well,  it has been just over a week since I “came out” about my current challenges, I would like to thank all those that have contacted me to offer support, encouragement or well wishes on a speedy recovery. I also realize that there are a lot of people who just d0 not know what to say or how to react to my situation and to those I say, do not worry. Heck, I am not sure how I would react if one of my friends told me they were suffering from depression/anxiety/PTSD. The one thing I do know is that people do care and they have different ways of showing it.

So what’s next? Well, the race calendar has been tossed out the window though I do plan to draft a new one in the coming weeks. The St.john’s Triathlon is still a go as I have paid for everything associated with the race. The plan is to start consistent training beginning the week of May 18th. Between May 18th and August 10th, I do hope to get in a few other race but I will be looking for races that do not have a large number of people. Luckily in Ontario, I will have a great deal of race of races to choose from.

Beside the race changes, there will also be some life changes as well. Some of those changes will be drastic, that some people will find disappointing but upon the recommendation of my doctors it is best for my overall health. Other changes will be less noticeable to people but to me, they will be dramatic. As I make those changes, I will let everyone know so that people do not hear about it through the grapevine.

In the mean time, over the next few weeks, I will be working on getting my weight down. One of the side effects of the medication I am on, is  that I crave carbs all the time. For the past number of years when I go to Timmies, I would just get an extra-large tea and have no desire for anything else. Now when I go there, before I order my tea, I order three cookie, 20 pack of Tim Bits or a couple of donuts. So, it is time to get back on track and start eating a lot better than I have over the past four months. I am hesitant to ask the doctors to change my meds as they do seem to be working but if I cannot correct the carb craving then I might just have to change the meds. There is no sense in having me feeling mentally ok but doing damage to the rest of my body. One of my fears is that I will put back on a lot of weight and this might cause my depression to become deeper as I do not ever want to go back to the way I was four years ago.

As most of you know, I am a big goal writer. At any given time, I will have short, mid and long-term goals that I would be working on. Right now, my focus will be on short-term goals only, be they one day, one week or one month. Going beyond those time frames is just too much for me to handle right now. For the coming week, my goal is to get out on my bike. Ten days ago, I brought up my Trek DS 8.3 but have not had the motivation to get out on the road. I also wonder if there is some fear that is causing me to not get out there after last years accident.

Here my goals for the coming week that I hope you hold me accountable for:

1. At least one bike ride of one hour or more

2. Get at least 2 runs in of 5k

3. Stop going to Timmies to avoid the temptation of carbs

I have to start somewhere and this seems like a doable list to start with that I hope that I can get mind and body working together in unison again.

Until next time….“I’ve had some dark nights of the soul, of course, but giving in to depression would be a sellout, a defeat”. Christopher Hitchens

Where Have I Been…Time to Come Clean

Those that follow this blog or know me personally might be wondering where I have been since mid January . Well, I have been dealing with some health issues, some physical but for the most part, it has been mental.  Those people that know me or have met me one time,  would say that I am generally a happy go lucky type of guy brimming with positive energy. Well it is time to come clean, for the past four years, I have been dealing with depression on one level or another. I have done a great job of masking my depression from friends and family who had no idea of what I was going through as I tried to deal with it on my own.

In mid January, the four years of hiding what I was going through caught up to me and I went into a deep depression. At this point, I could no longer hide behind a false facade and sought out medical treatment. After consulting with medical professionals, it was determined that I was suffering from acute depression and sever anxiety disorder brought on by some form of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It has yet to be determined what the source of the PTSD is, but with continued treatment we hope to find the source and deal with it accordingly.

I will say that I am very lucky to have a great family doctor that diagnosed me very quickly and got me immediate referrals to more qualified doctors as well as put me on some very effective medication. Though my depression has improved, my anxiety still gives me trouble. It is the anxiety that scares me the most as I do not feel in control. The anxiety comes on when I am around a large group of people, especially if I do not know them or if I am in unfamiliar surrounding so much so that I become physically ill. This is the main reason for me not competing in the races I had planned to partake in since January. Though I do hope to get the anxiety under control before Ottawa Race Weekend, I am not going to put pressure on myself to run my race. Right now, my main focus is to get better and return to my active life style. Unlike past challenges, there is no defined recovery period and set backs can come at anytime so I will take things one day at a time.

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 My Bike Jersey In Support of Clara Hughes Big Ride

So why am I putting this out there for evryone to know about, well like Clara Hughes, I want to do my part to raise awareness and erase the stigma associate with mental illness. It effects so many people that suffer in silence and they need to know it is ok to let people in to help them. Since January, I have only confided in a select few people until I got my plan together to combat my illness but I was surprised that many of those that I confided in, have been dealing with the same illness as me for many years. These people have been a fantastic source of support and are great examples that mental illness can be over come.

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So when you see me, do not treat me any different than you did before, I am not fragile, I will not break nor will I crumble. I am just the same guy you always knew that has a medical condition that is treatable. Like all my past challenges and in the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger “I’ll be back”, stronger than ever, striving to reach my goals.

I am doing my part to bring awareness to mental health, I hope you will do your part, either by supporting Clara on her big ride or supporting your local mental health association.

Until next time…..Depression Is Not a Sign of Weakness It Is a Sign That You Have Been Trying to Be Strong for Too Long